More than a dozen people have been reported killed in a bomb attack in Afghanistan that targeted visiting US vice president Dick Cheney.
Cheney was unharmed in the suicide strike on the Bagram Airbase where he was staying. He told reporters he had heard the explosion and was moved to a bomb shelter as a precaution.
A US and a South Korean soldier were among the victims. Cheney said he believed the motivation was to “question the authority of the central government”.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying they had targeted Cheney as the prelude to a new spring offensive.
The United States has some 27,000 soldiers pitted against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Bagram is the US forces main base.
Cheney continued with his programme of meetings despite the attack, holding talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul before moving on to Oman.
The US is seeking to pressurise Pakistan to do more to deal with the Taliban insurgents who are believed to be using Pakistani soil as a base from which to launch their offensives.